Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playing Politics With Education: Will the KU Vice Chancellor keep his job by being honest?

Professor Riyaz Punjabi opens a can of worms to let out an open secret

Opening of new colleges political gimmick: KU V-C

Abid Gani Wani (Daily Etalaat)

Srinagar, April 28 : Expressing concern over establishing new degree colleges by the government without providing the basic infrastructure, the vice-chancellor of Kashmir University Professor Riyaz Punjabi on Monday termed the upgradation of the schools a “political gimmick.”

Speaking to Etalaat on the sidelines of a function in the campus, Prof Punjabi said that the establishment of the colleges and the upgradation of the schools were done “to gain a political mileage” and “the ministers have done it at the cost of quality education.”"It has deeply affected the quality of education and played with the career of students,” he said. “I personally visited the newly-established colleges and noticed that one person was discharging the duties of a principal, teaching faculty as well as a clerk. How can he do justice with the profession and deliver his duties?” Prof Punjabi said.

He said the policy of establishing new colleges would degrade the higher education and “result in intellectual bankruptcy of the students.”

“I have publicly told the Minister for higher education that the plan to establish the colleges is vague and is no way helping the students to provide them the quality education,” he said.

He said that if the government would improve the basic infrastructure to the already establish colleges and introduce job-oriented courses “it would be a real achievement rather than establishing the colleges for the sake of publicity.”“It is pathetic that the students who are enrolled in the newly-established colleges are studying in tents and a single room is the college for them,” Prof Punjabi said.

He said that in the technological era, “our colleges are still used to teach the conventional subject which makes the students dependent on the government sector after passing their degree.”

“If the new and job-oriented courses would be introduced for the students, they can generate the employment not only for themselves but to others as well.”

He said that the university is going to submit a report to the state government in which different suggestions and recommendations by the experts is sought to ameliorate the debilitating conditions of the education sector in the Valley.

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